PM: Heart of Israeli gov't, people with Hayat family

Firefighter to be buried in Afula; Barak proposes, cabinet grants IDF death benefits to firefighters, those killed in prison service bus incident.

311_zaka in fire aftermath (photo credit: Aharon Baruch Leibovitch)
311_zaka in fire aftermath
(photo credit: Aharon Baruch Leibovitch)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday expressed sadness and condolences over the death of firefighter Danny Hayat, who on Saturday became the 44th casualty of the Carmel fire.
"Danny fought for his life for two weeks after fighting courageously to try and save the passengers on the prison service bus," the prime minister said at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday. "The heart of the government and of all the people of Israel is with the Hayat family," he added.
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Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that benefits given to fallen IDF soldiers should be extended to those firefighters who died while fighting the Carmel fire, at Sunday's cabinet meeting. The measure was subsequently passed by the cabinet.
Barak noted that firefighters, unlike Prison Service officers, do not receive IDF benefits. However, he noted that any decision to grant those benefits to the firefighters from the Carmel fire should be seen as an exception and not a precedent.
Benefits were extended to two firefighters, a fire service volunteer, and bus driver who died in the prison service bus catastrophe on the first day of the Carmel fire.
Hayat was critically injured in the Carmel fire two weeks ago died at Haifa's Rambam Hospital Saturday from his wounds.. He was a commander in the Emek Yizrael firefighting service.
Hayat had sustained burns on over 50 percent of his body and lungs. Doctors had attempted to implant artificial leather skin on his body in the two weeks he was in the hospital. The procedure did not succeed.
Hayat, 35, was among the first of the firemen who arrived at the bus-load of prison wardens that burned on the first day of the fire. He leaves behind two children and a pregnant wife.
Hayat will be laid to rest in the Afula cemetery at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Forty-four people lost their lives in the blaze, including 36 Israel Prison Service members, several police officers and fire service members and a fire volunteer.
Thirty-six members of the Prison Service – the majority of whom were new recruits  – had been dispatched to the Damon Prison near Kibbutz Bet Oren to assist in the evacuation of some 500 prisoners from the facility. The bus however never made it to its destination. It traveled from Atlit to the prison via the winding, mountainous single lane Route 721, before suddenly becoming engulfed in flames, leaving no survivors on board.
Melanie Lidman contributed to this report.